When I was younger, I was terrified of thunderstorms. Really, really terrified. I couldn’t go to bed during a storm, and I couldn’t go to bed if I knew there was the possibility of a storm. They always woke me up during the night, too, and once that happened, I couldn’t go back to sleep until the storm had passed. Although I’d never been hurt by lightening, it gave me chills and made my teeth chatter. I remember spending many summer nights sitting in bed with my knees pulled to my chest, waiting for the storm to pass.
Whenever those storms came around, I would go wake up my parents and tell them I couldn’t sleep. Then, either Mom or Dad would come stay in my room with me until the weather calmed down. Having one of my parents next to me made all the difference. I could rest knowing they were right there beside me. Even though they couldn’t do anything about the weather, their presence made me feel safe.
I’ve grown up a lot since those days, and now I actually enjoy drifting off to sleep while listening to the rain. Thankfully, I outgrew my fear of storms, but I still have other things I’d rather not deal with. I think one of the hardest parts of growing up is knowing there are some things you have to deal with on your own. Although your parents love you and support you, some things are out of their hands. When you’re scared, you no longer wake up your parents and ask them to stay with you until you’re not afraid anymore. When you have problems with a professor at school, you can’t ask your mom to call them and make everything better, and you can’t have your dad walking in front of you when you go somewhere unfamiliar. They may still be there, but you can’t hide behind them.
A couple of weeks ago, I experienced one of those times in life where you just want to hide from the world for a while. I’d had a really rough day in which I had become tired of all of the darkness in the world. I was in the middle of feeling , for the first time in my life, my heart truly break for the things that break the heart of God. That day, I’d taken a stand for what I knew was right, even though it made other people think I was crazy. I was exhausted physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I felt very alone, very weak, and very, very small. I knew I was right where God wanted me, doing exactly what He wanted me to do, but still I had many unanswered questions, such as: Why did He want me where I was? Why did He want me doing this? Why couldn’t I see His plan?
Right as I was in the middle of trying to figure this out, my mom called to answer a question I’d sent her earlier. But rather than just hearing the information and saying thank you, I spent the next twenty minutes dumping all of my frustrations on her. She patiently listened to me sob everything out until there was nothing left for me to say. Then she told me what I didn’t want to hear, but knew was true: She wished she could help me, but she couldn’t. She could just pray. Of course, I’d known that from the beginning, but it was still one of those moments of realizing I wasn’t a little girl anymore. My problems were bigger than a skinned knee or hurt feelings, but I’m blessed and very thankful to have a mother who will always listen to my troubles, no matter how old I am.
After that conversation, I offered my problem up to God. “Take this, Father,” I whispered, “Use this for your glory because You’re the only One who can redeem this mess.”
And then I felt His presence, closer than the air I breathe, more constant than a heartbeat, more steady than the ground beneath me. It was as if I could inhale and feel His grace coursing through me, filling my lungs and calming my anxious heart. I felt safe. A song began to work its way through my mind, and it stayed in my head for days, serving as a reminder. I’ve experienced tough times before, but for the first time, the lyrics truly resonated with me, as I understood the power of the truth contained in the lyrics. The song is called “Here I Am” by Downhere. The entire song perfectly sums up my experiences, but here is the part that kept repeating itself in my mind:
“Are you not the closest when it’s hardest to stand? I know that you will finish what you began.”
I’ve heard people say that we’re always either in the middle of a storm, leaving one behind, or about to head back into one. Each storm is different, and situations constantly change. But the one thing that won’t change is the One who is patiently waiting for you to allow Him to guide you through each trial. Storms can be big, loud, and scary. They can give you chills and keep you awake at night. But sometimes, it’s in the middle of the very wildest storms that God feels the very closest. And knowing that He’s turning the dark, difficult storm into something that draws you nearer to His heart and builds you stronger in your relationship with Him makes the journey all the more worth it.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.” – Psalm 145:18
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
In His love,
P.S. I encourage you to listen to “Here I Am” by Downhere. Click here to listen to it.